- One and only warmth that every form of art loves and enjoys.
- A method for engraving ivory is said to have arrived in Japan from China in the 8th century, and ivory was used to make teaspoons, hair decorations, and Netsuke (miniature carving attached to the end of a cord hanging from a pouch) in the 17th through 19th centuries. Today, international trade ofivory is strictly regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Washington Convention) and none has been imported into Japan since 2009. Only ivory bearing a registration tag can be processed into craft works. Due to this material’s scarcity, different degrees of hardness and softness, and unique annual rings, craftsmen have become adept in saving even small fragments. The soft texture and luster peculiar to ivory are attractive to many people, and ivory is used for personal seals as well as for ornaments/Netsuke engraved with motifs of traditional Noh dramas, temples and shrines. It is also used in relation to Japanese musical instruments – for string bridges and finger plectrums for the Koto, and for Shamisen pegs, bridges, and plectrums – and it is acclaimed for its characteristic flexible ability to capture the forcefrom strings and metal parts with no slip due to hand’s sweat. Many instrumentalists prefer ivory due to its flexibility and comfort in performance, but hard ivory that can be used for Japanese musical instruments is very limited. Despite this situation, ivory is still highly prized because demand for such high-quality natural materials never ceases.
- Tokyo Ivory Crafts Association
Address: 26-3, Nishiasakusa 3-chome, Taito-ku, Tokyo